In late 2018, Universal Music Group Nashville (UMGN) president Cindy Mabe flew to Los Angeles to see a private screening of the April 2019 faith-drama Breakthrough, hoping to land her artist Carrie Underwood’s “Love Wins” a spot on the soundtrack. But after the screening, Mabe had a new goal: to sign the film’s lead, Chrissy Metz (who also stars in the hit NBC series This Is Us) to a recording contract.
Mabe recalls being blown away by Metz’s performance — especially her delivery of the Diane Warren-penned track “I’m Standing With You.” Says Mabe, “I knew that music was Chrissy’s first love, and that this could be a natural progression. She connects to human beings like no one else.”
Prior to meeting with Mabe, Metz had been flying between Los Angeles and Nashville for two years (on her own dime), trying to launch her music career. But on Jan. 13, Metz officially signed to UMGN. Prior to closing the deal, Mabe arranged for Metz to lead a powerful rendition of the Breakthrough ballad alongside now labelmates Underwood, Lauren Alaina, Maddie & Tae and Mickey Guyton at the Academy of Country Music Awards last April, just weeks before the film’s release.
Mabe says there was competition among labels to sign the singer-actress, but Metz assures that UMGN was always the front-runner for her, saying, “The genuine care, expertise and love for their respective positions was inspiring. Developing connections on common ground felt natural from the beginning.”
The two-time Golden Globe nominee — who cites Otis Redding, Mavis Staples and Stevie Nicks as just a few of her biggest sources of inspiration — is now gearing up to release her debut country album later in 2020. And while she can’t share many details about the forthcoming project yet, Metz teases that it’ll be “vulnerable, firsthand storytelling about loss, grief, personal growth and understanding.” Adds Mabe: “I’m excited for the little girl in her that was told she could never do this, to see her dreams come true.”